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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its final assessment report, the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report, which consolidates the key findings of its three preceding reports. This comprehensive review of global knowledge of the climate covers the physical science of the climate crisis, the impacts of the crisis, and ways to adapt to them, as well as ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a vital scientific tool that provides scientific underpinning for global climate action. Its key findings warn that the world is approaching “irreversible” levels of global heating, with catastrophic impacts rapidly becoming inevitable. Therefore, it is “now or never” to take drastic action to avoid disaster.

The report also includes three shorter IPCC reports published since 2018, focusing on the impacts of global heating of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, Climate change and land, and climate change and the oceans and cryosphere. The report concludes that the world is only a few tenths of a degree away from the globally accepted goal of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. On current trends, we will exceed this target within a decade.

The IPCC warns that what governments do in the next few years to limit greenhouse gas emissions will determine whether temperatures keep rising dangerously or fall back to safe levels. Billions of poor people who bear the least responsibility for the climate emergency are already being hit hard. Extreme weather events such as flash floods in Turkey or Cyclone Freddy over southern Africa, which took hundreds of lives, are becoming more common occurrences. It is unequivocal, say the scientists, that human activity has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. It is also human activity that can bring temperatures down. Cutting carbon Pollution and fossil fuel use by nearly two-thirds by 2035 would give humanity a decent shot at the target.

The report warns that the world is rapidly approaching the point of no return, and governments must act quickly to avoid disaster. The next UN climate summit, Cop28, will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai from 30 November, and the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report is supposed to inform it. The report is subject to watering down by regimes that do not like its messages, but it is still an essential scientific tool for global climate action.

Source: IPCC/Youtube

Governments should reduce emissions sharply and give up fossil fuels, through investments in renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies, increase energy efficiency, rethink agriculture, and restore forests and degraded natural landscapes. The IPCC has estimated that investment in climate mitigation and adaptation is three to six times lower than where it needs to be to reach the goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C. Therefore, policymakers must take immediate action to ensure that trillions of dollars of multi-year investments are made to save humanity. It cannot be left to the private sector to solve global heating, and the state needs to be involved in a much bigger way. However, this must be done without socializing risks and allowing banks to privatize profit.

The IPCC thinks there is enough potential CO2 storage to limit Global warming to 1.5C from now to 2100. However, such novel methods currently account for just 0.1% of all negative emission use. Therefore, more research and development of new technologies are essential to reduce carbon emissions.

The IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report is a wake-up call to all of us. We need to take immediate action to reduce our carbon footprint and work together to solve this global crisis. The following IPCC report is not until about 2030, policymakers should shorten reporting cycles to receive more apparent scientific advice throughout this crucial decade. As individuals, we can reduce threats by making simple changes to our daily lives. We can switch to renewable energy sources, reduce our meat consumption, use public transportation or carpool, and Support sustainable businesses. We can also advocate for change by speaking up to our elected officials, participating in climate activism, and educating others about the urgency of the situation. It’s up to all of us to take action and create a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. Let’s not wait until it’s too late. Let’s act now.

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